Metasequoia glyptostroboides

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides - Dawn Redwood, Water Fir
Common name: Dawn Redwood, Water Fir
Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress)
Distribution: China (Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan)
Habitat: Riparian
Hardiness: -30 - 20 F
Life form: Deciduous tree
Attracts: Birds w/ shelter
Structure: Conical
Average height: 75-100'
Fall color: Bronze
Fruit characteristics: Round, female cones start green and mature to brown. Hang on stalks up to 1.5" long. Male cones hang in long strings, and are .5" in diameter.
Bark characteristics: Young: reddish-brown Mature: Grayish, fissured, and exfoliates in long, narrow strips
Foliage characteristics: Linear, flat, straight or slightly curved, and pointed. 50-60 leaves grow on a deciduous branch, with each leaf being about 12mm long. Leaves are light green. Some leaves grow on persistent stems, as well.
Description: Commonly known as dawn redwood, this tree was described as a fossil before it was described as a living plant. In 1941, the Japanese palaeobotanist S. Miki described the dawn redwood based off of fossil evidence, but as one of many extinct plants, there was little interest. Also in 1941, T. Kan came upon an odd tree in a small village in China, but could not collect any material from the deciduous tree due to the season. By 1946, three different expeditions had made trips to the area, collected material, and tied the tree to the description made by S. Miki in 1941. Seeds were sent to the Arnold Arboretum (Harvard) by the beginning of 1948, and it became very popular as an ornamental tree at botanic gardens and arboretums. The most recent development in the dawn redwood's story occured in the early 90s, when scientist realized that trees in the west were suffering from interbreeding, due to all of the seeds originating from one to three trees in China. An expedition was arranged, and now arboretums are growing a more diverse selection of trees.
Links: Missouri Botanical Garden Plant FinderThe Gymnosperm DatabaseUniversity of Connecticut Plant Database


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